This has probably been in the works for a while but I just recently learned that we will soon be able to buy and sell books on Facebook. I guess it was really just a matter of time before the platform moved beyond advertising into direct marketing so I can’t say that I’m surprised. We will have to stop calling this a “social media” site at some point and start calling it something like “social shopping”. I can’t say that I am happy about this development but I can’t say that I’m surprised, either.
What is interesting to me is how this relates to libraries and library use of social media.
Right now our patrons are used to having a separate online space to socialize and another to buy things (I realize that many sites, like Amazon, incorporate social features but people typically do not go to Amazon to invite people to an event or post photos). I predict that in the not-to-distant future our patrons will be expecting everything in one place. They will not want to close Instagram in order to shop for a new outfit, they will not want to get off Facebook to purchase a book. So will they be willing to move over to a separate platform in order to search a library catalog? Just judging by the habits of the high school students I worked with for seven years, I’m going to say no.
So how are we (libraries) preparing for the future? Are our catalogs accessible through social media platforms? Why can’t you “share to Facebook” when you put a library book on hold? Why aren’t we communicating better through social media (I want my overdue notices through Twitter so that I can tweet them out and everyone can see what a delinquent I am LOL)? I want to load up a Pinterest board with places I dream of traveling to and then sync that Pinterest board to my library user account to generate searches.
All these fun ideas I have aside, what does this specific development with Facebook mean for libraries? Does it even matter? Is it just a blip, another “big new thing” that won’t change anything in the long run? Are libraries staying ahead of the curve?.